Tuesday, April 17, 2012

new bloggity blog!

To return "agua viva" back to it's original purpose of being about water missions, I created a new blog, sweet adventures, to document life as I graduate and move to Nashville, Tennessee.   

This blog ideally will be a place where I can keep track of fun adventures I have in running, painting, baking, travel and more.  I just really don't want to forget how truly blessed I am by all of the great adventures I get to have daily.  I'd love it if you followed along, and hopefully you'll get something out of it too!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mas cakes

Close-Up of Tara's Wedding Cake
E for Espinoza ;)

Slightly melt-y ruffle cake for Mom's Tea Party


Lisa's Birthday Cupcakes this year!

Mallory's Salted Caramel Cake :)

Because I have to "Pin" them from somewhere...

Monday, December 5, 2011

sweet adventures

so, you may know i really enjoy making and decorating cakes.  you may not know that i am OBSESSED with baking now.  i love love love it.  so here's a little intro into my cakes-ca-pades recently.
my graduation cake.  yellow cake from scratch recipe that turned out really dry, with chocolate frosting (fair trade cocoa powder from Ward's Grocery!) I need to find a better yellow cake recipe....

A practice run, two-tiered carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting. 

My sister's wedding cake and cupcake arrangement, also carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

And my most recent obsession:
Sweet Potato and Ginger Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting and Toasted-Marshmallow Filling from sweetapolita.

The leaves were fun, but I had to do them by hand because I didn't yet have my new lovely LEAF cookie cutter! Cant wait to use it.

So, next time you need a cake and don't feel like making one, let me know!  I love to have a reason to bake... and a reason not to eat an entire cake by myself!  As much as I would love to eat this entire cake myself, I don't think my body would be too happy when I can finally run again.

Speaking of not being able to run.  Let me discuss the other obsession/endorphin-providing/love-of-my-life these days.  Oh how I wish I could run right now.  But I can't.  Because I didn't rest when I should have.  I am now pretty sure I have a stress fracture in my right shin and can't run until it heals.  It also hurts to jump on it, climb stairs...walk.

And then yesterday, I added to my injuries while riding my bike down the Hawthorne trail, trying to sneak in another workout before finals week.  I have been biking more since I can't run.  Anyway, I took a pretty bad spill coming down a steep hill and turning too fast and ended up with serious road rash and a more balanced limp now (as my stress fracture is on the right, and my road rash is on the left).  I am a perfectly symmetrical ball of pain... ;)

I think the Lord was calling me to rest.  Not to just bike a whole lot to make up for the not-running thing.  Now I hear you Lord, loud and clear.

If you'd like to know the extent of my knowledge of rest, see Psalm 62:5.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

so maybe this could be more than a water blog.

I realize that not many people read this blog.  The whole point of starting it was to update supporters while participating in water missions (to both Haiti and Guatemala) so understandably there is not much to post about regarding missions while here in Florida.

But, since this is my blog and I am free to use it however, I may start posting about other things (life, school, thoughts and adventures) and hopefully you will gain something from reading it.  And maybe, at the very least, I can point you to MY favorite blogs and you can share in the joy i find in following them.
Other fun finds that have been keeping me busy online:
  • For sorting and posting photos... pinterest.com
  • music trading... noisetrade.com
  • free demo downloads of tons of artists... briterevolutions.com
All this being said (well, typed) I would just like to point out that I do NOT spend all my time on the computer ;). If you are reading this, you probably know that I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering and that I have spent what little free time I have had this semester traveling, biking or running.  But, to every action there is a reaction, or something like that, and I have chosen to spend my (newly found) free time to update things I haven't had time to, such as this blog. 

Hope you enjoy the new aqua viva.

john 7: 38
"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

i like this.

"Tell me, and I'll forget.  Show me, and I may remember.  Involve me, and I'll understand."
-Native American Proverb

Monday, June 6, 2011

Project Ulpan

This trip to Ulpan was full of new experiences and new realizations.  May 10-20th, I once again met up with the team of my now family members, not just friends, from Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN).  Immediately after meeting them at the airport, we made our way from the bustling city of Guatemala City to a place with a breathtaking view of rolling mountains, where "roads" are laughably rocky and bumpy and where it is commonplace to see women walking with a chicken in their arms and their baby slung around their backs.

A little background I found out about Project Ulpan:  Christian, our Guatemalan missionary partner, was contacted a few years ago by someone who had come across people from these villages deep in the mountains of the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala.  He had discovered their immense need for clean water, realizing some of the villagers must walk an hour or more to reach even a "questionable" water source.  Later, Lipscomb University was looking for an opportunity to send some students to Central America for engineering missions.  A missionary/professor, Steve Sherman knew Christian and contacted him to find out what they could do.  Christian told him about the Ulpan Valley water crisis and thus began Project Ulpan.

The project has  now expanded and is reaching more communities each time missionaries visit the area.  In order to make a more permanent impact, two families will be moving to the valley this year to work with the community from the inside.  The main goals begin with gaining their trust and becoming a part of their family by providing the "bread and water" necessary for a better life.  These relationships then create an opportunity for the sharing of the "living water" which has led us there to begin with.

I have found a second home in the valley.  It is now a part of me and I can't wait to go back, though I'm not really sure how or when that will happen.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.  If you are one of the few who read this, you must be really invested in my life and my mission :)  So, THANK YOU.

More on the mission in May and pictures to come !

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the good way

  "Stand at the crossroads and look for the ancient paths, where the good way lies, and walk in it, and find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

Everyone is looking for their way.  

People are so unique.  The more I see and the more people I meet... the less I am surprised.   We are just an unpredictable species.  We are weird. 

In Pana, the motto is: 
“you’re here, because you’re not all there.”

There are so many different personalities and different approaches to finding life’s meaning, it seems almost counterintuitive to try and walk in a certain way. Why limit yourself when there are so many possibilities, so many things to try?  It seems that’s one common thread that relates us all: we’re all trying to find meaning.  We all want to find our special purpose.

But what if we're all looking for the same thing?  Just One thing to fill that hole, that emptiness we feel even when everything else is great.   King Solomon had everything (literally, everyyyything he could ever want) and he still penned the book of Ecclesiastes, which chants repeatedly how meaningless life is. 
He wrote:                              
“Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
for this is the hole duty of man.”

 “Fear”- to have reverential awe of.
Fear God.
I've met many who claim to.   Some of them suck.  Some of them don’t.  Some do miracles.   Some wait for miracles.  Some pray. Some don’t.  What I’ve found is that whether we admit it or not, we all want truth.  But more than that, we all want our truth to be “the truth.”   Because I feel I have found “the truth” I want to share it, as many Christians do.  Unfortunately, this desire to share a gift so wonderful ends up turning people off to the Father’s love in some cases and this “reverential awe” becomes actual fright of judgement or discipline.  As Mrs. March compels Jo to look to her Heavenly Father’s love in Little Women, I compel you now,

“I have a better friend, even than Father, to comfort and sustain me.  My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome an outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one.  The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to him, the less you will depend on human power or wisdom. His love can never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the sorce of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength.  Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorroes, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.”

 I think we are all looking for the ancient paths, something to point us in the direction we should go.  Where the good way lies.

I've found the good way and it is good indeed.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Different than I could ever dream, Haiti was both a surprisingly discouraging and a surprisingly hope-filled trip.  Though I saw poverty like I’ve never seen on any of my other trips, I also met Haitians with the will, motivation and passion to overcome their hard positions.

Haitians are a unique people. 
Their smiles are miles long.
You can’t help but laugh when playing with the children.
                                                            …You can’t help but cry when you leave them.

Here are some pictures, all I have time for now.  More stories from the trip to come!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

peace for today, hope for tomorrow

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
John 4:13-14

The new water source before building the Spring Box

the completed clinic building we began last may- this is where we slept
Mmm, papaya
a new addition to Benitzal school since I last saw it

I can't really say I've ever felt so changed by any trip in my whole life.  God really rocked my world these passed few days and it is really exciting/overwhelming/emotional...the whole bit.  

So, Jesus is awesome. Flat out.   I saw that in so many ways on this trip.  I saw the majesty of his creation every minute, from the first plane ride out of Florida, to the “Chipi chipi,” when the clouds descend over the mountains of Ulpan Valley.  I think the most incredible part of this weekend, and the part that I am still processing, is how much hope for the future of the valley it gave me.  I won’t break down the entire trip, though some  of the funny movie quotes, song references, sarcastic comments are worth repeating.  I will simply try to bring God as much glory as possible by telling you all the ways in which He worked through project ulpan.

"chipi chipi"

There were three different projects planned for this trip (as much as you can “plan” anything for in the valley…): A lift station to facilitate the construction of the base site, a solar panel system for the clinic, and a water project, which I was to be working on.  When we arrived in guate, Kris informed me that there was a new water source found by the Benitzul school, where we stayed last May.  He wasn’t sure if it was a new source or connected to the existing spring, but he knew he wanted a spring box, something I’d wanted to learn how to build since the first trip, despite the fact that it was a spring box that caused me months in a cast after dropping one super huge spring box lid on my finger…

"Spring Box- A structure engineered to make optimum use of a natural spring."

the old spring box (though covered with a lot of overgrowth) and I meet again...

Building the spring box had a catch, however.   The point of this trip was not just for me and some other engineering students to design and construct yet another spring box for this community.  This time, a group of 5 members of a nearby village (Setex community) would be working with us to learn the water trade, and they would be the water team, or the “Comitad de Agua.” 

We met them at 8 am sharp Guatemalan time (about 8:34 am) up by the new water source.  Through two translators, Brooke facilitating English to Spanish and our new friend Otelia, from Spanish to Kek’chi, we explained to the Comitad our purpose in meeting with them: not to build the spring box while they watch and fetch materials, but to include them in every step from design to completion.  First we walked to the old spring box and explained why it is so important to protect water at the source and how this simple box will keep them and their families from getting sick. Then we explained how we normally went about constructing a spring box and asked for their input, suggestions or comments. 

La Comitad de Agua
They had no problem understanding the concept and their only concern was “Well, don’t we first need the materials?”  Good question. 

Let me frame this picture for you: On the last trip, the climb down the “mountain” from where we slept at Benitzul school to the work site was the dreaded trek of the day that we had to make at the least four times (down after breakfast, up for lunch, down after lunch, up before dinner…).  Most of the materials on that trip were carried by the Mayans in the community because they were just SO good at it.  90 lb bags of cement on the back of their necks (the standard mayan method), they would make multiple trips that were difficult once without carrying anything.  Now, on this trip we were staying at the old work site “down” the mountain, in the same building we had mixed concrete for in May, and had to climb UP the mountain this time to bring supplies to Benitzal. 

The reason this is amazing and gave me hope for the future of these people?  As the Comitad de Agua went to work digging out the spring box site, guess who trekked up and down the mountain to get supplies?
Yep. We did.

I don’t even need to go into detail about all that happened the next two days (well, one and a half days) in took them to complete the box.  Basically, they are absolutely amazing and didn’t really need our help at all except for a few explanations and suggestions here and there.  The most priceless comment, and my FAVORITE comment made on this trip was this, after seeing that they skipped a step we normally took to cover the spring itself with a board to protect it during construction, we suggested that they added it.  The suggestion went through Brooke, to Otelia, to the Comitad…they heard it and replied, back through Otelia, then to Brooke who told they said, in essence, “Nah, we’re good.”

The spring box frame filled with drying concrete

tying rebar for the concrete lid

Do I even have to explain why that was so incredible to me?  The entire Mayan people are just so incredible to me, and I was extremely humbled by the privilege to work alongside them.  Their work ethic, perseverance, and knowledge of the land was so inspiring.  These were some of the world’s first engineers.  They didn’t “need” us, but we were glad to help.  My only prayer is that through our presence in the valley, that God’s love for them was apparent.  It is hard to communicate verbally with them, it’s true, but I know that the love of God is universal.  I hope that by returning again and again and forming a relationship with this people, that project ulpan will emulate the gospel of good news even more than it has already done.

I have to also talk about the incredible-ness of our team.  Kris, the leader, Stephen, Luke, Rick, Nathan, Jacob, Zach, JamesRobert, Brooke and Anna are all now part of my family J.  Their diligence and hard work throughout the weekend inspired me to keep going, even when I was tired.  One particularly inspiring moment came when Rick, after carrying a wood board for me I had been carrying that was getting really heavy said, “Take up your board, and follow me.”

I believe that we all took up our “boards” on this trip.  But for me, project ulpan, and the Guatemalan people in general, have become a cross (or board) that I am willing to bare.

stephen, me and rick with the completed spring box.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guatemala, here I come! ...finally!

So, as you probably know if you are reading this blog, I was supposed to go to Guatemala in January to do some preliminary stuff (I don't really even know what "stuff" that is myself, so forgive me for being so vague...).

Anyway, BIG NEWS!  We are going back to Guatemala!  We will be there from February 10-15th!   I am so excited, and thankful, to be going back.

We will be taking a group of about 15 people I think (again, I don't even know all the details, it is so last minute!) to do all of the work we were unable to do in January.  We will arrive Thursday night into Coban, where we get to stay at the wonderful Don Francisco hotel, and then we will leave for the valley Friday morning.  Friday-Monday will be devoted to work on all of our projects including:  A solar panel station, A lift station aaaaaaaand the water project, which I will be working on.

There will even be a day in Antigua, Monday night,  for fun where I will get to see my friend http:// madisen in guatemala .blogspot.com/ !  I am soooooooooo excited to spend time with her in both of our favorite country!  SO COOL.

I feel so incredibly blessed and excited to be going back!  I have been praaaaaaaaaying about this trip for a long time, and I know that going back means the Lord really wants us there and that we are completely in His hands :)

Please keep our group in your prayers and keep reading my blog! I will update with pictures and all when I get back!  Thanks for all of you who have prayed for me and financially supported me in this endeavor, God has really used you!